Job scopes are changing rapidly with the adoption of technology. There have been abundant discussions around what the ‘future of work’ looks like. The skills needed would be very different. For businesses, the need to have great talent who can keep the business running remains. A skill that every job demands more so than ever is the ability to diagnose problems.
If you were a manager, you would like your subordinates not simply report a problem, but come with a diagnosis of the issue. In the fast pace business environment, a workforce with a colossal problem-solving capability leads to high productivity. The benefits include expedient problem resolution and a healthy culture for collaboration. Both free up managers’ time for other priorities.
Most individuals have an inherent ability to diagnose a problem. There is no need to send your employees to an extensive program and be certified as a business analyst. What you want is to develop the basic skill to uncover root cause and to have each employee take ownership of it. How do you develop the analyst in your employees? There are three things you can do.
- Cultivate a habit to analyze problems. Start with asking ‘why’ when a subordinate presents you with a problem. Do it in a non-threatening way by using a coaching approach. Seek evidence for the diagnosis. Over time, he builds a habit of it and automatically uses the same approach with his peers.
- Allocate time for the task. It takes time to uncover causes. For employees who are involved in processing transactions, it is difficult to find time for diagnosis because their focus is on throughput. Companies have been dedicating time for innovation. You can do the same for problem diagnosis. Formalize the time allocation. A proper focus delivers quality.
- Assign ownership. When there is ownership of a problem, you can hold someone accountable. Multiple issues might arise from the day-to-day operations. You need to be alerted of them and help to prioritize which issues warrant the attention. Work with the employee to develop a reasonable timeline for the work. Then follow up and offer guidance along the way.
As automation takes on the manual, repetitive tasks, you need workers who can isolate problems quickly. The lead time for decision-making will shorten. This builds efficiency, fostering a collaborative work culture throughout the business.